Monday, September 3, 2012

Clothing the New Man

 

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” – Colossians 3:12-14

My son has been in college for over 3 years now, and lived on his own for most of the three.  I’ve been very proud of the young man he is becoming.  It’s not just his intellect that is growing, but his character as well.  But I am simply excited to think about the day he gets a job and can no longer dress in basketball shorts, V-neck t-shirts, and flip-flops!  Thank you Jesus!
It’s a momma thing, I’m sure!  We love to dress our children up nicely from the time they’re born.  But college doesn’t require that.  College only requires you show up and do the tasks at hand.  But that day is coming when he will be required to show on the outside what he has developed into through his college education.  And on that day, I just hope I’m there with a camera to get pictures of a successful young man dressed to go into a business environment!

Now here’s a question for you.  If the Holy Spirit lives in you, as we are told by the Word of God that when you are saved He does (Ephesians 1:13-14), then how do you show it outwardly?  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”.  How do you dress the new creature you have become on the outside? 
Colossians 3:12-14 tells us to “put on” some things.  We are to dress the new creature that is alive in us with mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forgiveness, and love.  If these sound like the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5, it’s because they’re describing the same thing.  The fruits of the Spirit are not a grocery list of things God puts in us, but a description of how we act once He is at work in us.  Because we are to be the light of the world, the light of the Holy Spirit must shine though us.  We must show who He is from our outside.

But how exactly do you do show that?  How do you “put on” love?  The words “put on” are usually used for someone who is acting.  But is it an act?  YES…but the act comes from the HEART.  When you dress yourself in these, you turn yourself wrong-side-out.  You show what’s on the inside, by living it on the outside.
To put on mercies, you must be merciful.
To display kindness, you must be kind.
To show meekness, you must become meek.
To put on longsuffering, you must be longsuffering and patient.
To wear forgiveness, you must forgive.
To display love, you must give love.
 
There’s a common misconception that when the Holy Spirit takes up dwelling in you that these fruits are just sprouted from little seeds of goodness He plants within you.  And although without the Holy Spirit there is no good within us, the fact remains that living for God is a choice – a daily choice.  What you dress the New Man in is up to you.  You can continue to wear the old clothes and appear to be the same as you always were, or you can dress in the Designer’s clothing that He has designed just for you. 

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